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Dr. Jürgen Kurths is a mathematician and physicist who is known for discovering basic phenomena in complex systems and applying them to several fields. Complex systems are systems with many components that interact with each other. They can range from a small living cell to the entire universe, but the systems all share certain characteristics like a pattern of order in seeming chaos.
Kurths discovered that a phenomenon called phase synchronization, which was observed in pendulum clocks in the 17th century, is also part of complex systems. This led Kurths to a new understanding of the interaction between the heart rate, respiration and brain activity in humans. He also discovered the phenomenon called complex recurrence and used it to uncover the influence of El Niño on the Indian Monsoon.
Dr. Edward C. Carmack is an award winning Climate Research Oceanographer with the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, British Columbia who has furthered our understanding of the entire Arctic Ocean and land system. In 2007, he was awarded the Massey Medal by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his outstanding work in ocean science.
Dr. Norbert Untersteiner (deceased) is the father of modern day sea ice physics. He was the station leader of the 1957 International Polar Year Arctic drifting station Alpha, the first manned drifting ice station conducted by the West. He made contributions to polar research until his death in 2012.
Dr. Keith Runcorn was one of the world’s leading planetary physicists and one of the founders of the modern geophysics field. According to an article published in the journal “Nature,” he was also “a central player in two of the crucial debates in Earth science in the mid-twentieth century – those over the origin of the Earth’s magnetic field and the validity of the theory of continental drift.”
Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu is a physicist who is an expert on the aurora borealis and the associated physics. His paper on the auroral substorm in 1964 is still cited often. He also initiated a study of space weather forecasting with K. Hakamada well before this issue became crucial. The method they developed was refined by G. Fry and became the basis for the famous HAF model. Akasofu came from Japan to UAF in 1958 as a graduate student to study the aurora under the guidance of Sydney Chapman, receiving his PhD in 1961. He is an emeritus professor of geophysics at UAF.